Lexie ElkinsUL-Lafayette, Softball, 2014-15 Corbett Award
In her debut season at UL-Lafayette last year, Texas native Lexie Elkins showed much promise as a Ragin’ Cajun softballer. As a junior, she fulfilled it.
Both the Cajuns and Elkins had tremendous years on the diamond, reaching the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season. And super-slugger Elkins is the winner of this year’s James J. Corbett Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the state. She is the fourth Cajun to win the award in the last seven years, and the fifth softball player overall to win.
“It means a lot,” Elkins said. “But I couldn’t have done it without my support team behind me. Coach Mike (Lotief), my teammates and everybody behind the scenes.”
Elkins, who spent her freshman season at Texas Tech, had been the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2014, as well as an NFCA Third Team All-American and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s All-Louisiana Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
But not one to rest on her laurels, the Cajun’s second-year starting catcher simply continued her success in 2015. She led the nation in home runs, finishing with a single-season school record of 32, tying UTEP’s Camilla Carrera for the second-most hit in NCAA Division I history. Her 0.59 home runs per game was just shy of the NCAA single season record and she became one of only eight players in NCAA Division I history to hit 30 or more in a season. She also led the nation in RBIs with 83, the third-highest total in school history. She and 2012 Corbett winner Christi Orgeron are the only players to reach 80 RBIs. Elkins also set a new school record for slugging percentage at 1.077, breaking Danyele Gomez’s record of .957 from 2006, and becoming the first Cajun to finish above 1.000.
Not surprisingly, Elkins was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year for the second year in a row and an NFCA first-team All-American, becoming only the 13th player in school history to be named All-American at least twice in a career. She also was a finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year.
“It’s all about her,” Lotief told ESPNW earlier this year. “That kid’s competitive, incredible hand-eye, the work ethic, pitch recognition. I mean, she’s the total package. And she’s been a pleasure to be around. She’s made me better.”
“I didn’t plan to do what I did,” Elkins said. “I just went out and did what I always do. I’m proud of how our team fought back from adversity this year. We started kind of slow and then got going.”
The Ragin Cajuns completed the season 42-12, winning the Sun Belt Championship for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons while finishing in either a Super Regional or the Women’s College World Series for the fourth straight year.
Elkins still shows great promise, of course. She will enter her senior season with 56 career home runs, leaving her 27 shy of the Cajuns’ career record of 83 hit by Gomez.
Story submitted by Lori Lyons of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.